The Gun, the Ship and the Pen

Linda Colley, The Gun, the Ship and the Pen; Warfare, Constitutions and the Making of the Modern World, Profile Books, 2021, pp. 502. Warships that encircle the planet; guns that kill at half a mile or more; written constitutions that allocate your rights and duties: all these are crucial features of modernity and, according to […]

Politics and altruism

Thomas Prosser, What’s In It For Me: Self-Interest and Political Difference, Manchester University Press, 2021, £12-99 paperback. What’s In It For Me? is a survey of contemporary political movements and beliefs. It is very up to date – Covid and Brexit get plenty of mentions – and it’s central question concerns the extent to which […]

Sir Stanley Rous

Alan Tomlinson, Sir Stanley Rous and the Growth of World Football: An Englishman Abroad, Cambridge Scholars Publishing, £64 (hardback). One of the most iconic photographs in the history of English sport is of the queen presenting the Jules Rimet Cup to the England captain Bobby Moore in 1966. From the angle most often shown there […]

University Governance

Michael Shattock and Aniko Horvath, The Governance of British Higher Education; the impact of governmental, financial and market pressures, Bloomsbury, 2020, pp. 198. In 1969 Mike Shattock and I both took up posts at the University of Warwick. He was Academic Registrar and, later, registrar, a role he redefined as managerial and strategic. He steadily […]

Son of . . .

Lincoln Allison, essayist and retired academic. I normally have lots of books on the go, but the pick of the current crop is Mick Channon Jnr., How’s Your Dad? Embracing Failure in the Shadow of Success (Racing Post, 2016). Reasons for reading it: “Here, Dad, you’ll like this” plus I once included Mick Channon Snr., […]

The Play’s the Thing

Brenda James and William D. Rubinstein, The Truth Will Out: Unmasking the Real Shakespeare, Pearson Longman, 2005 (2006 pb), pp. 360. On more than one occasion at a conference I have been buttonholed by someone who has insisted on informing me, with a glint in their eye, that the plays attributed to William Shakespeare were […]

The Chairman of Surrey CCC (also Prime Minister)

John Major, More than a Game: the story of cricket’s early years, Harper, 2007, pp. 433. I overheard a remark on Radio 4 recently to the effect that Wagner was like Marmite and cricket: you either “got it” or you didn’t. The implication for those administering or producing these goods was that they really didn’t […]

Risky Shores

George K. Behlmer, Risky Shores: savagery and colonialism in the Western Pacific, Stanford University Press, 2018, pp. xiv + 338. In the common rooms and waiting rooms of my youth Punch was ubiquitous. One rarely read the articles, but always looked at the cartoons; a distinct genre of these showed missionaries in cooking pots. The […]

Game Changer

Rayvon Fouché, Game Changer: the techno-scientific revolution in sports, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore, 2017, pp. 262 A starting claim of Game Changer is that the impact of technology on sport in the last thirty years is on a different scale from anything previously. A great deal of the book covers the familiar issues of […]

Knowing the Score

David Papineau, Knowing the Score, How Sport teaches us about Philosophy (and Philosophy about Sport), Constable, 2017, pp. 328 The sub-title to David Papineau’s book suggests a pair of objectives. They are, of course, open to interpretation. For example, it is eminently clear that the author is not concerning himself with the question of what […]

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